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New Anti-Energy Development Initiatives Registered with Secretary of State

Eleven initiatives aimed at Colorado’s oil and gas development were issued on December 22, 2015, marking the start of a new chapter in the Centennial state’s ongoing tug of war between the energy industry and neighboring communities.

Eight of the proposed initiatives targeted setbacks for operations, but two of the measures are generating the greatest response from Colorado’s oil and gas proponents. One calls for the outright ban of hydraulic fracturing, while the other aims to shift regulations to local authority rather than that of the state.

Oil & Gas 360

Colorado drillers may face legislative headwinds in 2016

Colorado’s booming population and the simultaneous emergence of the Denver-Julesburg Basin has pressed the two elements of the state’s economy together, resulting in vigorous political debates about the energy industry’s drilling practices. Five different Colorado communities passed hydraulic fracturing bans in the past few years, but state courts have since invalidated three of the bans. Similar measures appeared on ballots last year but were eventually removed in favor of forming a 21-person task force. Despite the compromise, friction remains between the two sides.

Karen Crummy, Communications Director for pro-energy committee Protecting Colorado’s Environment, Economy and Energy Independence, spoke sharply against the measures in an email on December 23. “These measures are so radical they would kill jobs, ignore established laws, devastate Colorado’s economy and create a patchwork of rules and regulations throughout the state,” she said, while the title of the email calls the initiatives extreme, irresponsible and hypocritical. “These proposals are completely out-of-step with the majority of Coloradans who support responsible oil and natural gas development.”

Crummy also said the desire for local control shows that “[the anti-energy development camp] wants local governments to have control except when it conflicts with their radical agenda.”

A handful of E&Ps have cooperated with their neighboring communities: Great Western Oil and Gas tweaked its drilling plans to appease nearby residents and Synergy Resources (ticker: SYRG) has often spoken about “being a good neighbor” while running operations in close communication and in close proximity with Weld County surface dwellers in the Wattenberg field.

ARTICLE XXX Ban on Hydraulic Fracturing

Colorado Ballot Proposal

2015-2016 #62
Prohibition on Use of Hydraulic Fracturing

Pending Review and Comment Hearing HCR 0109 01:30:00 PM
01/05/2016

Be it Enacted by the People of the State of Colorado:
SECTION 1. In the constitution of the state of Colorado, add article XXX as follows:
ARTICLE XXX Ban on Hydraulic Fracturing
Section 1. Purposes and findings.
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF COLORADO FIND AND DECLARE: (a) THAT OIL AND GAS DEVELOPMENT USING HYDRAULIC FRACTURING, HAS DETRIMENTAL IMPACTS ON PUBLIC HEALTH, SAFETY, WELFARE, AND THE ENVIRONMENT; (b) THAT THE PROTECTION OF PUBLIC HEALTH, SAFETY, WELFARE, AND THE ENVIRONMENT HAS PRIORITY OVER THE RIGHTS OF OIL AND GAS DEVELOPMENT; AND (c) THAT TO SAFEGUARD AND DEFEND PUBLIC HEALTH, SAFETY, WELFARE, AND THE ENVIRONMENT, THE PEOPLE DESIRE TO PROHIBIT THE USE OF HYDRAULIC FRACTURING IN OIL AND GAS DEVELOPMENT WITHIN THE GEOGRAPHIC BOUNDARIES OF THE STATE OF COLORADO, EXCLUDING FEDERAL LAND AND INDIAN RESERVATIONS. (d) SUCH PROHIBITION IS DEEMED NECESSARY TO THEIR SAFETY AND HAPPINESS AND WILL NOT BE REPUGNANT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES.
Section 2. Definitions.
(a) “OIL AND GAS DEVELOPMENT” MEANS EXPLORATION FOR AND PRODUCTION AND PROCESSING OF OIL, GAS, OTHER GASEOUS AND LIQUID HYDROCARBONS, AND CARBON DIOXIDE, AS WELL AS THE TREATMENT AND DISPOSAL OF WASTE ASSOCIATED WITH SUCH EXPLORATION AND PRODUCTION.
(b) “HYDRAULIC FRACTURING” MEANS THE WELL STIMULATION PROCESS USED TO EXTRACT DEPOSITS OF OIL, GAS, AND OTHER HYDROCARBONS THROUGH THE INJECTION OF WATER, SAND, AND CHEMICALS UNDER HIGH PRESSURE INTO GEOLOGIC FORMATION(S).
(c) “ENVIRONMENT” INCLUDES AIR, WATER, LAND, AND HEALTH, AND ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS.
Section 3. Prohibition of Hydraulic Fracturing.
THE USE OF HYDRAULIC FRACTURING IS PROHIBITED IN OIL AND GAS DEVELOPMENT IN ALL LANDS WITHIN THE GEOGRAPHIC BOUNDARIES OF THE STATE OF COLORADO, EXCLUDING FEDERAL LAND AND INDIAN RESERVATIONS.
Section 4. Not a taking.
THE PROHIBITION OF HYDRAULIC FRACTURING IS NOT A TAKING OF PRIVATE PROPERTY AND DOES NOT REQUIRE THE PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION PURSUANT TO SECTIONS 14 AND 15 OF ARTICLE II OF THE COLORADO CONSTITUTION.
Section 5. Enforcement and Damages.
ANY PERSON(S) OR GOVERNMENTAL ENTITY MAY ENFORCE THIS ARTICLE THROUGH AN ACTION BROUGHT IN A COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION. SUCH PERSON(S) OR GOVERNMENTAL ENTITY SHALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO SEEK DECLARATORY RELIEF, EQUITABLE RELIEF INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION INJUNCTIVE RELIEF, AND/OR DAMAGES. UPON DETERMINATION THAT A VIOLATION OF THIS ARTICLE HAS OCCURRED, PENALTIES MAY BE ASSESSED BY THE COURT OR JURY TO BE PAID INTO THE REGISTRY OF THE PRESIDING COURT AND DISTRIBUTED BY SUCH COURT TO THE LOCAL COMMUNITY WHERE THE VIOLATION(S) 2 OCCURRED. THE PLAINTIFFS IN SUCH ACTION SHALL BE ENTITLED TO RECOVER ALL REASONABLE COSTS OF LITIGATION, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, ATTORNEYS’ FEES AND COSTS.
Section 6. Self executing, severability, conflicting provisions.
ALL PROVISIONS OF THIS ARTICLE ARE SELF-EXECUTING, ARE SEVERABLE, AND SUPERSEDE CONFLICTING STATE AND LOCAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS. LAWS AND REGULATIONS MAY BE ENACTED TO FACILITATE THE OPERATION OF THIS ARTICLE, BUT IN NO WAY LIMITING OR RESTRICTING THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ARTICLE.  


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